So good to have you with us Erica and a big congrats on your new release, TOO WICKED TO KISS, described as a Gothic Historical Romance.  Sounds fabulous.

Breaking News: TOO WICKED TO KISS has been selected as a March book club pick for Barnes and Noble! Erica will be at the book club forum all month long, so please stop by to say hi or to talk about the book! Here's the link: http://bit.ly/bOPvn4

HIS TOUCH HOLDS HER CAPTIVE...

From the ravens circling its spires to the gargoyles adorning its roof, Blackberry Manor looms ominously over its rambling grounds. And behind its doors, amid the flickering shadows and secret passageways, danger lies in wait.

TO HIS EVERY DARK DESIRE...

Evangeline Pemberton has been invited to a party at the sprawling estate of reclusive Gavin Lioncroft, who is rumored to have murdered his parents. Initially, Gavin's towering presence and brusque manner instill fear in Evangeline...until his rakish features and seductive attentions profoundly arouse her. But when a guest is murdered, Evangeline is torn. Could the man to whom she is so powerfully drawn, also be a ruthless killer?

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 I shot some questions at Erica which she graciously answered.  I totally identify with some of what she has so honestly shared.  Thanks again, Erica.

1: What do you most like about writing?  Least like?  What made you want to be an author?

What I love most about writing are the moments where I'm "in the zone", where the scene is unfolding real-time in my head and I can barely type fast enough to get it all down. What I least like are the long waiting periods between each stage of the process. It's a necessary evil (everybody needs time to do their jobs: agents, editors, art department) but patience has never been my strong suit!

I've wanted to be an author ever since I was little. I've always loved writing just as much as reading, and cannot imagine not having those two elements as an integral part of my life.

2: When did you decide to write romance and how long have you been at it?  Also, have you written other genres?


When I was a kid, I wrote (and illustrated in crayon!) stories about little kids like me, who had bad days in school or were lucky enough to get zapped into the past to meet dinosaurs. In junior high, I wrote long angsty drama-filled teen epics, inspired by years of Sweet Valley books. In high school, I went through a phase where I wanted to be the next Stephen King, and everybody died horribly by the end of all my stories. Then there was a dry period, when I went to college and got a "real" job and pushed the dream of writing to the back of my mind. In January 2006, however, I made the conscious decision to pursue a career in writing romance, and it has been a wonderful journey ever since.

3: How do you get over writer’s block?

Some people say that the only way to get over writer's block is to keep writing anyway. I am not one of those people. If I have writer's block, it means I literally don't know what happens next in the story, and I can't write about what I don't know. So I'll strap on my roller blades and my mp3 player, and skate for a few miles along the river near my house. This is a good trick because the answer will typiucally occur to me as soon as I stop thinking about it. If I'm really stuck, I brainstorm with a friend. Sometimes all I need to break the block is to force myself to explain the situation out loud.

4: How do you come up with your ideas?

Randomly! I'll be doing some seemingly unrelated thing and suddenly think, "Heyyy, what if..." and then I'm off and running. Or I'll read some snippet of research that gives me a great idea for a plot twist. Ideas are everywhere!

5: Do you ever have problems not going over the top details and plot lines? Do your characters take over?


I have never had the experience of the characters veering me completely off the plot, but I have had the experience of me trying to force the characters into acting outside of the personalities, after which I inevitably have to go back and rewrite the scene. I do my best to follow a clear plot, while staying true to the characters' personalities.

6: How did you find a publisher?


Well, first I kept writing and revising until I had a publishable manuscript, and then I pitched and queried until I landed a literary agent. She took over from there, talking up the story and sending it to interested publishers until we were offered a two-book contract in December, 2008. And now, just 15 months later, my debut Gothic historical TOO WICKED TO KISS is hitting the shelves!

7: On average, how long does it take to write your books?

Ah, this is a trick question. I brainstorm for a month or two, working out the plot and getting to know the characters. It takes another month or two to write the first draft, after which I revise--or possibly start over from a blank page. Once it's the best I can make it, I send it to my agent, who offers me her suggestions. I revise again, and we send it to my editor. He (and/or the copy editors) then offer their suggestions, and I revise yet again. Then it gets typeset and I revise the page proofs for the last time before the book finally goes to print. There are long periods of waiting between equally long periods of frantic activity, but all-in-all, it takes about a year for a book to go from "idea" to "done".

8: Do you have a person in your life that you would consider to be your inspiration?

My grandmother. She is a smart, strong woman, and has been my staunchest supporter my entire life. She has always believed in me and encouraged me, no matter how impossible my goals seemed at the time.

9: Who’s your favorite author to read? Favorite book?


Oh man, this one is impossible... If you could only see my book shelves! My favorite genres within romance are historical (particularly Regency--I read them all!), romantic suspense, paranormal, and contemporary romantic comedy. Outside of romance, I read a lot of mysteries (from Evanovich to Grafton to Higgins-Clark), suspense thrillers across the board, and paranormal/horror (ie King, Koontz, Lumley.) All that said, every now and then I'll come across an amazing book in a genre I rarely read, such as Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Impossible to narrow down!

10: How do you cope with rejection?

By keeping on keepin' on. The rejection never ends. The search for an agent, the search for an editor, the subsequent submissions for new contracts... When I got my ARCs, I was even stunned to discover that many book reviewers also required a written query before agreeing to review your book, and they don't always say yes, either! Rejection is an integral part of this business, and the best thing to do is to just keep writing.

11: Do you base your characters on people you know?


Nope! I try to dream up people completely unlike those who I know, and then put them into challenging situations. Whichever character occurs to me first--hero, heroine, villain, whomever--will determine how I craft their counterparts. But in the end, they always end up feeling very real!

12: How do you determine the goals of your characters?


For me, it has to come from the character's own personality. No other person, even in that character's situation, would share that character's exact goal. And how they attempt to reach those goals (and deal with obstacles/failure) is also very much a function of their history and personality... and what they've learned so far over the course of the book.

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Where to find Erica:

Author Website: http://www.ericaridley.com

Book Bonus Features
: http://www.2wicked2kiss.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EricaRidleyFans

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/EricaRidley

18 comments

  1. Beth Trissel // March 4, 2010 at 8:52 AM  

    Those in the zone writing moments are my favorite too, Erica, and why I continue this writing journey. And like you, I've been penning or crayoning pieces since childhood.

  2. Erica Ridley // March 4, 2010 at 9:31 AM  

    Thanks for having me here today, Beth! (And may we always be in the zone!!! :-)

  3. Beth Trissel // March 4, 2010 at 9:37 AM  

    Yes indeed! That's what it's all about.

  4. Barbara Monajem // March 4, 2010 at 9:41 AM  

    Wow! I popped over to B&N and read the blurb of your book, Erica. It sounds like a ton of Gothic fun.

    I love the in-the-zone moments, too. I'd like to order several a week so I can make my page count goal. :)

  5. Joelle Charbonneau // March 4, 2010 at 9:46 AM  

    Hey Beth...thanks for having Erica on today.

    Erica, thanks for stopping by the Fuzzies. I love that your way of getting around writers block is strapping on your rollerblades. Skating is always a favorite inpiration of mine. Congrats on the book. It sounds fabulous. I can't wait to read.

  6. Judy // March 4, 2010 at 10:22 AM  

    Erica, Congratulations on your book! I'm so happy for you! And thanks for sharing your story with the Fuzzies and others. It sounds like a terrific book. Can't wait to read it...love the combination

  7. Erica Ridley // March 4, 2010 at 10:28 AM  

    Barbara: Thank you! And I totally agree... if only I could somehow *schedule* the zone's arrival...

    Joelle: Do you have a favorite place to go skating? I have friends who walk or drive or what have you, but for me, it's definitely rollerblading.

    Judy: Thanks so much!! =)

  8. Anonymous // March 4, 2010 at 11:27 AM  

    What an interesting visitor you've brought us today, Beth! I enjoyed meeting Erica and look forward to reading her book. Welcome and we hope you enjoy visiting!

    Melba Moon
    President-Elect KOD

  9. Mary Marvella // March 4, 2010 at 12:56 PM  

    Some of my favorite moments happened when characters finally stopped lying to me and let me see inside them. I love writing bad guys, too.

    Erica, your book sounds like a must read. My to-be-read stack is about to grow again.

    Good job, Beth.

    Mama Mary

  10. Pamela Varnado // March 4, 2010 at 2:58 PM  

    Welcome Erica, Like you I have to take a break whenever I get stuck writing. Otherwise, I'd just sit and stare at the screen. You mentioned that you brainstorm for a month or two before you start writing. I'm amazed at how fast you write the story. Do you plot out your novel, chapter by chapter?

  11. Erica Ridley // March 4, 2010 at 3:03 PM  

    Melba Moon: Thanks so much!!

    Mary: Oh, those are great moments. (And I think bad guys will always be one of my favorite character types to write--they know what they want, and they go for it!)

  12. Erica Ridley // March 4, 2010 at 3:04 PM  

    Pamela: I definitely mull the story for a while before writing. I want to make sure I really know the characters, and what I'm going to put them through.

    As far as fast writing, the first draft is usually the fastest part of the whole process! And then it's not unusual for me to throw it away and start over, LOL. It's the rewriting and revising and polishing that takes forever (for me.)

    I have tried both writing by the seat of my pants and plotting scene-by-scene, and have discovered that for me, something in the middle is best. I know in general the arc of the entire book, but I plot it out in segments--usually from major turning point to major turning point, or about 100 pages at a time (in a 400 page book)

  13. Mary Ricksen // March 4, 2010 at 3:35 PM  

    What a great blog Erica! good stuff Beth. Your book is now on the top of my list. It sounds right up my alley.
    I wish you the very best and thank for the interesting interview!

  14. Erica Ridley // March 4, 2010 at 4:01 PM  

    Thanks, Mary!!!

  15. Autumn Jordon // March 4, 2010 at 5:06 PM  

    Hi, Erica. I could see me skating into the river. LoL. Seriously, when I'm stuck walking usually clears my mind and solves my plot problem.

    Congrats on the new release.

    Autumn

  16. Nightingale // March 5, 2010 at 9:13 AM  

    I'm a bit late in reading the interview but really enjoyed it. I think your books would appeal to me. I loved Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart. Dating myself!

  17. Beth Trissel // March 5, 2010 at 9:44 AM  

    Me too, and thanks so much for being with us Erica.

  18. Joanne // March 7, 2010 at 12:23 PM  

    Welcome, Erica, to the Pink Fuzzies, and thank you, Beth for having her here.